Agent Elvis Review: Finally a Cool Elvis

Elvis, acting as a vigilante, kicks down the door

I’m halfway through “Agent Elvis” on Netflix, and, dang, the pop culture figure I’d most like to have a conversation with is Priscilla Presley.

Priscilla is listed as a co-creator and executive producer on Agent Elvis, and it’s a really fascinating way to memorialize your dead ex-husband. As the series opens, Elvis is bored with his life making mediocre musical comedies, and he and his psychotic monkey pal are working as vigilantes against early 1970s drug runners.

Elvis is then recruited for a top-secret spy agency run by a deranged Don Cheadle and assisted by a perfectly cast Kaitlin Olsen. The snark and ultra-violence are turned all the way up, kind of like a B-tier Adult Swim show. The closest comparison would be Venture Bros (before it became a hangout show) or Archer (before it also became a hangout show).

It’s classed up by the voice cast and some nice mid-century pop culture references. Elvis’ disdain for Robert Goulet is a nice touch. Elvis vs. Charles Manson is the smackdown you didn’t know you needed.

The show’s best trick is scoring fight scenes to real Elvis songs. My favorite so far is a fight scene set to “Change of Habit,” the theme song to a corny movie where he romances a nun.

It’s not a hagiography – Elvis is impulsive, macho, slightly out of touch – but they leave out the big flaws. We never see him doing prescription drugs, and while he doesn’t spend much time with Lisa Marie, he’s not depicted as the absent father he is in the Elvis movie. He supports Richard Nixon and the war in Vietnam, which is accurate, but he’s willing to change his mind when given new information.   

What’s really notable about “Agent Elvis’” how cool Elvis is. Matthew McConaughey turns in an understated performance, somehow getting a smoldering gaze with just his voice. Elvis is usually a still presence among the chaos of the show. Elvis is off his pop culture prime, but he’s still cooler than the other side of the pillow. He’s dead sexy. And he’s super-good at karate.

This Elvis is funny and flawed, but he’s not a joke. That’s the difference.

Which brings us back to Priscilla. She made a show about a man who charmed her as a teen, married her and broke her heart – then set her up for life. A man who’s been dead nearly 50 years. Is this how she remembers him? We should all be so lucky.

Ava Minerva: The Other Side of the Black Hole

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
Ava Minerva: The Other Side of the Black Hole
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Other Side of the Black Hole

Welcome to the second installment of the adventures of Ava Minerva! I hope you had as much fun listening to it as we had making it.

A little background if you haven’t listened to it yet: We’re bringing you 1980s-style sci-fi tonight. A little derring-do, a little humor, and the occasional corny moment is (hopefully) part of the charm. Ava Minerva lives in a galaxy where water is tightly controlled by the oppressive Knights of the Temple, and ice is a scarce commodity. Ava Minerva is captain of the pirate ship Star of Naraghi, in a never-ending search for treasure.

The Cast

  • Capt. Ava Minerva: Jenny Key
  • Second Mate Molly Durst: Emily Turner
  • Capt. Sufjan Lowell: Stefan Langer
  • Bowman, the Shipwright: Brent Bowman
  • Alien Super-Intelligence: Micah Jenkins
  • Additional Voices: Tony Goins

I gush over Jenny Key every time, but Ava Minerva may actually be the role she was born to play. She really brings a mix of class, ruthlessness, and sardonic humor that makes the character work. As long as she’s willing to step back to the mic, we’re happy to have her.

One of the subtexts of this piece is me being surprised by the actors.

I can’t say enough about Columbus’ theater power couple, Emily Turner and Stefan Langer. Emily’s performance of Molly is nothing like what I heard in my head, but it’s way better than what I imagined. If you have a performer on Emily’s level, you let her bring what she’s bringing.

Sufjan Lowell is right down the middle of the plate for Stefan Langer, but you’re going to hear him bring something totally different in our next episode. That’s all I’ll say about that right now.

Likewise, I expected Brent to do a standard pirate accent for Bowman, the shipwright, but when we sat down to record, his best accent was the hills of Kentucky. It really plays. To really get the 1980s feel, I think the next Ava Minerva adventure should be her vs. Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

I did not expect Micah Jenkins, as the Alien Super-Intelligence, to put tears in my eyes as he delivers his closing speech. Micah’s strength as a performer (IMHO) is that he makes really unconventional choices.

Again – you gotta trust your actors to do their thing.

About the Episode

Chase stories are one of my go-to moves … there’s something really compelling to me about two people racing both each other and the clock. I also wanted to show Ava Minerva clearly being the bad guy. To do that, I set her against someone who clearly ought to be the good guy. The tension, for me, is Stefan’s increasing frustration as he fails to save the day.

One of Ava Minerva’s secret inspirations is Harry Lime, the immortal character portrayed by Orson Welles in the Third Man, which he reprised for a spin-off radio show called “The Lives of Harry Lime.” Welles is always a charismatic performer, but “The Lives of Harry Lime” is an instructive lesson on how despicable a character can be before you stop rooting for him.

Find more “Lives of Harry Lime” at: Orson Welles On The Air

(I personally am not cynical enough to straightforwardly root for the villain. We’ll explore the circumstances that led Minerva to a life of crime as we have time.)

The Alien Super-Intelligence was a last-minute addition to the script, but ended up being my favorite part. The script was running short and it needed some more sci-fi craziness. Once I got to the idea of an omnipotent judge, though, it really snapped into place with the themes.

Finally: This is the first episode we recorded at Production Partners Media, just north of Columbus. If you have any need of a recording space, definitely call Production Partners.

SFX Corner

I won’t keep you in suspense – the household object that serves as Ava Minerva’s cabin door is a clothes washer. I stuck the recorder inside the drum and knocked on the lid. It worked on the first take.

My second SFX trick is the Star of Naraghi’s engine. You probably noticed the sound of the engine starting up is a lawn mower with a little audio stank on it, followed by a whistle.

The sound of the ship under way is actually straps on the roof of our van. I had strapped the kayak to the roof of the minivan with the straps running through the windows. That’s what makes that thrumming sound.

Another sound that really makes the piece is a creaking ship SFX posted to Freesound.org by Craig Smith. It’s from a collection of classic SFX that was donated to the University of Southern California. Star Trek: Discovery uses a creaking ship SFX to great effect – once you’ve heard it, you can’t un-hear it.

And finally, sharp-eared listeners will detect the theme song from the classic “X-1” old-time radio show under the psychedelic freakout as Minerva is called before the alien judge. It’s one of the best themes of all time.

The following SFX are gratefully acknowledged:

And About That Image

That VHS box art is by our friend Brent Bowman, who also plays Bowman. More of Brent’s Work and find his recent Sugar Creek comic book

Ava Minerva: The Colossus Of Ice

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
Ava Minerva: The Colossus Of Ice
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Ava Minerva: Colossus of Ice VHS box art

This is the first Ava Minerva adventure. It takes some heavy inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, especially an underrated gem where space buccaneers are searching for frozen water. If you walked through a video store between 1989 and 1999, or if you were watching TBS at 3 in the morning around 1995, then you know you’re ready for a totally spaced adventure. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The Cast

  • Capt. Ava Minerva: Jenny Key
  • First Mate Guthrie: Keith Jackson
  • Countess Ru-Helboem: Alycia Yates
  • Overseer: Aaron Sinclair
  • Additional Voices: Tony Goins

Jenny Key knocks it out of the park as Captain Ava Minerva. I don’t have much more to add – just check the scoreboard.

Keith Jackson taped his performance at home – sadly, his audio quality was so much better than what I was getting. It’s better to have everything equivalently mediocre. Keith has a great voice anyway, and I really dug the accent he put on it.  Keith is one of the mainstays of a show called It’s All Been Done Presents, with starring roles in their segments, Privates, The Topnotch Tangler and Universe Journey. There’s plenty of Keith Jackson content when you get done here – please check it out.

Alycia Yates and Aaron Sinclair play the heavies in this piece, as the Countess Ru-Helboehm and the Overseer, respectively. Alycia was asked to go the full Disney villain on it, and she delivered. As for Aaron, I don’t know if you can chew scenery on the radio, but he sure did it. I’ve never heard someone pronounce the “H” in “Sword,” but somehow he does it.

Special thanks for Brent Bowman for our VHS-style box art!

About the Episode

I have no idea how the idea of a Colossus of Ice came to me. I was thinking about a certain classic 1980s sci-fi movie, and treasure, and then the Colossus loomed up, fully formed.

If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t start the series on a planet. It feels like a miss to spend that much time underground. But on the other hand – I did get a time platform.

This piece was produced during the pandemic, and boy was it tricky. We had to record Jenny Key twice – the first time, we tried to record it in a minivan and got a weird buzzing sound in the background. The second time, she recorded it at home in a pillow fort.

As I write this, we have two more Ava Minerva adventures in the can, and a few more planned. So stay tuned.

SFX Corner

These are items I clanged together to make swordfight sounds.

The swordplay SFX comes from an afternoon of banging metal things against each other in my kitchen. It’s been a while, so I forget exactly what went into the final product. I think it was bread knife vs. crowbar. I really explored the difference between a “clunk” and a “ring” on that one.

The time platform uses my trusty cider press SFX, which you can download from Freesound.org.

The sound of the ice statue cracking is actually a tree being cut down. It’s not ideal, but it gets the job done.

The following SFX are gratefully acknowledged:

Running_Two_People_Up_Stairs.wav
R22-33-Tree Falls and Hits Ground.wav
walkietalkie_eot.wav
Electricity 3
Chains 2
Spinifex Wind #1
Hatch Seal.wav
swordraw.wav
Sword being taken from scabbard
Marching 2.wav
Dripping, Fast, A.wav
Rusty Valve Turn (Close).wav
G15-18-Bulldozer Driving.wav
chieftanStartDriveOut.wav

Government Issue

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
Government Issue
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Logline: On the networked battlefield of the future, a cybernetically enhanced soldier has the worst five minutes of his life.

“Government Issue” represents the semi-official launch of Season 2! It’s been a long time, and we don’t have the resources to do these very quickly. But the lineup is:

  • Government Issue <- YOU ARE HERE
  • Ava Minerva: The Colossus of Ice
  • Ava Minerva: The Other Side of the Black Hole
  • Ava Minerva: The Whale
  • The Wrong Unit

You may be wondering who Ava Minerva is, and I’ll just tell you. She’s a space pirate

About the Episode

This is a quick one, but it was fun to make. It was basically Aaron, me and Jerod having fun in Aaron’s basement, and then going for tacos.

“Government Issue” is the last episode we produced before the pandemic. I recall driving back from Aaron’s and hearing about this weird virus on the radio.

Cast:

  • Cpl Figgins: Aaron Sinclair
  • Sarge: Jerod Brennen

The feeling we were going for in Aaron’s performance was “cool and professional,” like a guy who’s well-trained and knows his business exactly. He’s also someone who has his fear and pain responses suppressed by an automatic endocrine pump. Aaron’s performance as the endocrine pump wears off, and his natural fight-or-flight responses kick back in, is my favorite part of the piece.

I usually take Aaron’s dramatic choices as given, because he knows way more about acting than I do. He actually studied this stuff.

What’s it About: One of my standard writing modes is what I call “soft dystopian,” where technology hasn’t ended the world but sure has made some things suck. Figgins is definitely not living his best life, and he still has it better than the people he’s fighting.

The idea of a cybernetic implant crashing like Windows ’98 is just funny to me. I mean, not ha-ha funny. But you know that’s going to happen.

I didn’t spend any time thinking about who he’s fighting, although since we produced this, we did finally get out of Afghanistan.

This is another story I needed to tell while it was still science fiction. It won’t be for much longer. Bionic eyes: Obsolete tech leaves patients in the dark

About Figgins’ Kit

In the episode, I promised to say more about Figgins’ kit in the show notes. Figgins is commissioned as part of the CyberSoldier initiative, a suite of combat enhancements designed to all work together. In the episode, it states:

“The Combat Data System (CDS) affords 360-degree, cellar-to-ceiling tactical awareness for the warfighter on the modern networked battlespace. It’s hooked up to an overhead spotter drone via combat wi-fi.” He toggles commands for the drone feed through a button on the roof of his mouth.

Figgins also mentions his foot is prosthetic – it’s partially articulated. It has a “big toe” and then a wedge-shaped pad that represents the other four toes.

The SmartRifle is linked to the CDS and therefore can’t be used if recovered by the enemy. It fires SmartBullets that can be programmed to explode at a certain range or with certain effects. He’s carrying a small wrist rocket on his forearm.

The CDS monitors his metabolic state and can add stimulants or glucose to temporarily boost his performance. It scrubs some metabolic waste products out of his blood to reduce fatigue. It also suppresses his natural fear responses and keeps his adrenaline at a steady level.

It’s not mentioned in the piece, but the cybernetic enhancements require constant antibiotics to keep them from getting infected. That gave Figgins and his cohort terrible stomach problems and diarrhea – his unit lost more soldiers to C.Diff than to enemy action. The military tried custom rations, but that was logistically difficult and not very effective. This is what eventually canceled the CyberSoldier project.

SFX corner

  • The sound of Figgins running to the wall was recorded by me outside my kids’ school – those are my Wolverine boots running across the four square court.
  • My favorite SFX in this piece, of course, is the “kill” sound from the CDS when he shoots a ‘surgent. To the best of my recollection, that’s not in the script. It occurred to me during editing.

HP Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter”

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
HP Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolph Carter"
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“But I do not fear Harley Warren now, for I suspect that she has known horrors beyond my ken. Now I fear for her.”

This was the very first episode we recorded, about six years ago. On that day, we missed a page and a half, and then it took a few years to get everyone together to record that last page. Then, I had to redo the edit in Audition. And then a pandemic hit.

I just relistened to it, and I gotta say I think it holds up. There are some things I’d do differently in the SFX mix, but all-in-all I think it’s OK.

Cast & Crew

  • Randolph Carter: Micah Jenkins
  • Harley Warren: Alycia Yates
  • Recordamotography: Micah Jenkins
  • Producer: Tony Goins

About this Piece

I don’t think we’re the only ones to do Randolph Carter for audio, but I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones who gender-flipped it. I really like Alycia Yates as Harley Warren here – as always, she is an offbeat, otherworldly presence. Honestly, I wish HP wrote a prequel so we could hear more of Alycia questing after forbidden knowledge. And Micah Jenkins really hits that right note of outrage and confusion as the exhausted Randolph Carter.

Micah deserves a special commendation for handling the “feeble wavering beams” and “mausolean facades.” Ol’ Howard Phillip was definitely not writing for the ear.

I have a very specific recollection of reading this story for the first time. I was sitting in a coffee shop in Grandview Heights, on paternity leave, right after the birth of our first child. This is also the time I read Edgar Allen Poe for the first time. It was a joyous time in my life, but I found myself reading old-school horror. There’s probably no deeper meaning there.

Do you like Lovecraft? One of our other producers, Jerod Brennen, wrote a piece for the Lovecraft Zine a few years back, that was also done as an audio. Check out Bus Stop by Jerod Brennen once you get done with Randolph Carter here.  

SFX Corner

I created the sound of a slab being lifted off a tomb by dragging the lid of a toilet across the tank. It’s surprisingly effective. I stuck that up on Freesound.org if you want to use it – Scraping sound – toilet. As of this writing, its been downloaded 52 times.

I don’t entirely remember which all sounds I got from Freesound for this piece, but here’s the best of my recollection:

Digging1.wav

Manwe-metal_tools_on_concrete.wav

Stone Steps

OwlsForestApril82012.wav

Bicycle Kickstand

Downs: The White Ghost

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
Downs: The White Ghost
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“She traded her eyes for forbidden knowledge.” 

When creating the character of Susan Downs, I was looking for something with a strong logline that could carry any story I felt like telling. I wanted something with a supernatural bent, and I was tired of the crime noir stuff I’d been doing before that. She’s appeared in four comic books, a few ashcans, two short films, and now audio fiction. 

Alycia Yates returns from the movies to portray Susan on radio. I can’t say enough about her performance as the character. She brings a sense of humor to that I think Susan has, but I don’t always get onto the page. She’s an offbeat performer, comfortable with all sorts of wacky stuff, and I could not do this without her. Alycia – thanks.  

Jenny Key brings the low-key thunder as Emily Exeter, a woman who sold out her friend but didn’t get much out of it. She really communicates the character’s sense of world-weary shame. And much thanks to Tiffany Kiely for stepping in as the White Ghost. She’s a perfect otherworldly presence, and I do believe she could pull out someone’s heart.  

This is one of the few Distress Frequency pieces that has anything approaching a happy ending. As Susan says, “Vengeance isn’t my thing.”  

More Susan Downs 

Here’s where you can find more Susan Downs: 

Movie 1: A Voice from the Dead 

Movie 2: Angel’s Pin 

Downs Comix on Amazon Kindle

Production 

Hoo boy, this one’s been a long road. 

This was one of the first ones we recorded, nearly four years ago. In between then and now are at least one round of re-records, a guitar jam session, my grad school program, at least one child, and a pretty steep learning curve with Adobe Audition. I did this one originally in Audacity, then switched to Audition, then lost that version (something about the files opening on a flash drive – don’t ask), then had to mix it all over again.  

I’m still having a little trouble with the stereo mix on this one – all I can say is I’m sorry. I believe pretty strongly in releasing and moving on to the next thing, but there are definitely some moments I’d like back.  (I mean, I don’t regret them badly enough to mix the damn thing a third time, but you know.)

Inspiration 

This specific story was inspired by two old-time radio shows. First, an obscure 1942 radio show called “Come to the Bank,” by Lights Out. In that story, a fellow learns how to walk through walls but gets stuck in the wall of the bank. Second is the Orson Welles version of “The Count of Monte Cristo.” The main character of “Monte Cristo” is wrongly thrown in jail, makes a daring escape, and takes revenge on the ones that sent him there.   

Hmmm, now that I’m writing this out, the piece feels a little derivative.  

Susan herself is a descendant of any mysterious stranger who sweeps in and solves someone’s problem, most notably the Phantom Stranger, Captain Kirk and Knight Rider.

Alternate Ending 

The original ending had Kat Kenner trapped inside the mountain, entombed until she found enlightenment. The ending I went with is a little jokier, but I thought it but more human. I didn’t feel like being elegiac at that moment. I guess you can take your pick.  

The Greatest Show (Left) On Earth

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Distress Frequency
The Greatest Show (Left) On Earth
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Jerod Brennan always goes dark.

I’ve mentioned this before, but when we were first conceiving this show, for some reason we kept coming back to threats to children. “Godmother” was my riff on this theme, and Greatest Show is Jerod’s. He, uh, managed to go a little darker than me.

Greatest Show (Left) on Earth started out as a 5-page short film script that Jerod wrote a few years ago. I didn’t do much to adapt it – mostly I converted the stage directions to first-person narration or dialogue.

For example, here’s how the Crooked Man’s intro is described in the original script:

EXT. CIRCUS TENT – NIGHT

The Crooked Man BARKS at the crowd, drawing them toward the tent. He collects items from them as admission: a can of food, a book of matches, a winter coat.

I converted that to the spiel that Max delivers as we enter the tent for the final performance.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to Dan Kiely for striking the right world-weary note for Harry’s narration. He really sounds like a guy who “escaped the end of the world.”

Cast & Crew

  • Harry Weisz: Dan Kiely
  • Clem: Tiffany Kiely
  • The Crooked Man: Max Groah
  • Young Nathan: Tony Goins
  • Written by: Jerod Brennan
  • Adapted and Produced by: Tony Goins
  • Recordamatography: Micah Jenkins

Bong of the Living Dead

So I mentioned that Dan Kiely, Tiffany Kiely and Max Groah are part of a local film group called Backward Slate Productions, and that they have a movie called “Bong of the Living Dead,” and that film is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and glorious VHS. Friends, I’m here to tell you that’s all true.

It played a crap-ton of festivals last year, and it is indeed available in all of those formats.

Backward Slate Productions

Bong of the Living Dead

Bong of the Living Dead at Scream Team Releasing

SFX Corner

A lot of the heavy lifting in this show is done by Kevin MacLeod’s “Waltz of the Carnies,” which is gratefully acknowledged here. I don’t know anything about Kevin, and if there’s dirt on him, don’t tell me, because he’s aces in my book.

Kevin MacLeod’s “Waltz of the Carnies”

I also used the following from Freesound.org:

And a number from ZapSplat:

The trickiest foley in this piece was the scene with Harry and Clem. The script called for light wind and a Geiger counter. How do you depict a light wind? Over audio, any wind at all sounds like a hurricane. I opted to put in wind chimes. I guess Harry is a wind chime guy.

Some of the foley was performed live by me: The handcuffs at the beginning are a pair of slip-nose pliers, and the ticking at the end was a fingernail clipper. I’m snapping the lever backwards in time to the action.

Making Ends Meet

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Distress Frequency
Making Ends Meet
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I actually read this story a few years ago in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, and when I got in touch with Jarod I suggested it could make a good radio story. It has a strong narrator, a nice twist, and – most importantly – it ain’t too long.

This episode marks the first one of our second season, and also a chance to work with a lot of new talent. I’m always impressed by the quality of performers and writers in Columbus, and I know I haven’t scratched the surface:

  • Writer: Jarod K. Anderson
  • The Clerk: Stefan Langer
  • The Receptionist: Emily Turner
  • The Production Manager: Tony Goins
  • Adapted and Produced by: Tony Goins

Both Emily and Stefan are well-known actors around town – Stefan most recently appeared as Thomas Jefferson in Red Herring Productions’ production of Discord and Scaramouch in The Emperor of the Moon with Actor’s Theatre of Columbus. Emily is a playwright and actor whose full-length show, Girl, In Progress was recently produced by Red Herring Production, and she was the playwright-in-residence at Curtain Players Theatre as part of its 2019 New Works Initiative.

Jarod K. is a familiar podcaster around town, probably best known for writing and performing “The CrypoNaturalist,” a kind of Marlin Perkins for the supernatural. That show is always at the top of my queue whenever he releases a new episode. It’s about finding beauty everywhere around you – arguably the opposite of Distress Frequency, but it’s a great show.

One last piece of good fortune for this piece: I had a chest cold when I recorded the Production Manager. I felt like crap, but it really helped for the performance. I also benefited from having Stefan and Emily on hand while I was recording. They urged me to do it with more menace, and you can hear their direction in the final edit.

I’d like to talk more about Emily’s work as the Receptionist – it’s a short part, but she really sets the tone as the Clerk steps into the supernatural. She gave us a half-dozen different approaches to that role, ranging from bored to sassy to creepy. I’m working on another piece so you can hear how the different approaches would’ve made it a very different piece, so look for that in your feed.

SFX Corner

I had a heck of a time nailing down the conveyor belt sfx. I searched Freesound.Net, tried a bicycle chain, I tried to gimmick up something with a length of chain … nothing worked. Then, I went to my friends’ annual apple cider party. What you’re hearing is actually an 1870s-era cider press. It’s a crank-driven mechanism that crushes apples for apple cider.

So the whole sound works like this: First, you hear a screech that’s from the swingset at the park down the street from our house. Then, you hear a thrum I downloaded off Freesound.org. Then, you get the cider press, and it’s topped off with an “air brake” sound I also got from Freesound.

Bottom line: Nothing in that sfx is related to machinery or conveyor belts. Sfx is often about how a thing *should* sound, rather than trying to get a real-life recreation of the thing.

I threw a link up to the original cider press recording on Freesound.org. it’s creative commons if you want to use it for something. Drop me a line if you do; I’d love to hear it. It looks like it’s been downloaded 20 times so far!

Here are the Freesound.Org sounds you hear in this piece, gratefully acknowledged:

Aw, man. BREYFOGLE

Aw, man. Today I’m mourning the passage of one of the all-time greats, Norm Breyfogle.

(All my comics are in storage right now, so I’m doing this from memory. But here’s the impression BREYFOGLE made on me.)

‘Tec 607, my introduction to BREYFOGLE

This here is the first Batman comic I bought when I got into comix: Detective Comics 607, dated October 1989. It’s the fourth issue of an arc, so I came in at the tail end, but I was still hooked.

My comix habit started with three series: Batman (Aparo), Detective Comics, and the Shadow Strikes! (Eduardo Barretto – also RIP). Barretto struck me as the best artist – Aparo seemed a little square, and I wouldn’t really appreciate him until later. But ‘Tec, with Alan Grant writing and BREYFOGLE on art, was this little pocket of weirdness in the Batverse.

BREYFOGLE’S Batman didn’t have the confident athleticism of Garcia-Lopez, who I always associate with Batman consumer products, and he wasn’t as abstract Image-inspired artists like Jim Lee. He knew his anatomy, but he wasn’t a draftsman quite like Aparo.

BREYFOGLE’S art was fluid. BREYFOGLE’S Batman twisted around gargoyles or stood as imposing as a monolith. Sometimes he was abstract – just the outline of his white eyes, bat-ears and bat-eyebrows, and a scowl.

Other times, BREYFOGLE’S Batman was all too solid, folding over a kick or knocked halfway across the page by some lucky punk with a lead pipe. His Batman was truly grief-stricken whenever an innocent was hurt. BREYFOGLE’S Batman suffered.

I don’t think anyone did body language as well as he did. When I try to draw a dynamic pose, BREYFOGLE is who I try to channel. Here’s Tim Drake in the vest and booties, getting ready to do some business:

Tim Drake is mad

And no one, ever, did a better look of shock than BREYFOGLE.

Nooooo!

 

 

Simulation

Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency
Simulation



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Spoilers and behind-the scenes stuff is at the bottom –

Uploading your consciousness to the cloud – we’re going to see if we can make that old sci-fi trope even more horrifying than it was already.

While we’re talking about tropes, it’s a trope to say that “It came to me in a dream.” But … I still have a sense-memory of waking up with this scenario on my mind.

This story is an example of what I call “dirtbag future.” Most of what we see as the future is just bolted onto the present. There’s not going to be a movement that wipes away the present and replaces it with a Jetsons-type future. That goes double for the people that are living here. I wanted to write a sci-fi story starring people I went to high school with.

Cast:

  • Greg: Micah Jenkins
  • Medical Brain Scan Simulator: Alycia Yates
  • Recordamatography: Micah Jenkins
  • Writer / Producer: Tony Goins

SFX from the following Freesound.net users:

CarStartSkidCrash.wav by musicmasta1

Boot Sound by GameAudio

**** SPOILERS AFTER THIS ******

Micah did a great job with this one – my favorite moment is when he’s recording the message for his kids. I liked that on the page, but he really brought it to life.

My favorite moment here is the very end, when Micah’s character says he thought there’d be more to the afterlife than this. It’s after the end for him, and he makes a bid for a little human connection.  The machine just gives him a canned response that’s had all the humanity vetted out by the legal department.

For me, the horror aspect of this story isn’t being trapped in a computer. It’s the idea that this amazing sci-fi technology would be used for filling out hospital paperwork.